Pre COP 26 Leeds Met Office Hackathon

Monday 17 May to Thursday 27 May


Engaging narratives of future weather in Africa under climate change

The purpose of the Hackathon is to generate usable and impactful climate narratives for  decision makers in East and West Africa. It provides a focused opportunity for researchers interested  in collaborating to better understand and communicate what weather climate change will bring and what impacts that may have.

The combination of climate change and rapid economic development in Africa means there is an urgent need and opportunity for climate change planning across sectors. For decision makers, however, much climate change information does not include aspects key to their planning, and the the volume of information, combined with apparently conflicting information and uncertain predictions, can be overwhelming. Many decision makers are also under intense pressure to address the “problems of today”, reducing focus on planning for the future.

“Narratives” have gained traction as a way of synthesising information and communicating possible changes, addressing uncertainty via presenting several possible futures. For narratives to be engaging and relevant they must address future weather rather than simply future climate, and there is evidence that linking future projections to current weather variability, or recent events, allows users to understand and interpret the projected changes better. Narratives can also encompass possible impacts, potentially as a function of adaptation actions taken, or changing exposure and vulnerability. Relating future projections to current variability again supports this, since impacts of past weather on past human society are at least to some extent known, even if not providing a perfect analogue for future.

The challenge is to bring together sources of  information to present narratives of possible future climate in as compelling a way as possible by putting possible future weather events and variability into context by using past weather. For society, the impacts of this weather are key, and there is an opportunity to incorporate impacts into these narratives. Similarly, effective use of such narratives relies on effective communication between diverse groups. The ‘hackathon’ challenge is to create well-communicated user-relevant narratives of possible futures and/or the underpinning information for these.